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Fragments From France

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49 pages
Project Gutenberg's Fragments From France, by Captain Bruce BairnsfatherThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: Fragments From FranceAuthor: Captain Bruce BairnsfatherRelease Date: July 2, 2008 [EBook #25951]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FRAGMENTS FROM FRANCE ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Emmy and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.netCoverBy Bruce BairnsfatherBullets and BilletsFragments from FranceA Few Fragments from His LifeFRAGMENTSFROM FRANCEBYCAPTAIN BRUCE BAIRNSFATHERAUTHOR OF "BULLETS AND BILLETS"flowerG. P. PUTNAM'S SONSNEW YORK AND LONDONThe Knickerbocker Press1917Transcriber's Note: Where text is included in a cartoon and a closer look would be aid inreadability, links are provided to larger images. These links are indicated by underlines on thecaption title providing your browser supports such linking.FOREWORDBy the Editor of "The Bystander."WHEN Tommy went out to the great war, he went smiling, and singing the latest ditty of the halls. The enemy scowled. War,said his professors of kultur and his hymnsters of hate, could never be waged in the Tipperary spirit, and the nation thatsent to the front soldiers who sang and laughed must be the very decadent England ...
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Project Gutenberg's Fragments From France, byCaptain Bruce BairnsfatherThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at nocost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project GutenbergLicense includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: Fragments From FranceAuthor: Captain Bruce BairnsfatherRelease Date: July 2, 2008 [EBook #25951]Language: English*F*R* ASGTAMRETN TOSF  FTRHIOSM P FRROAJNECCET  *G**UTENBERG EBOOKDPirsotdriubcueted db yP rJouolfirete aSduitnhge rTlaenadm,  aEt mhtmtyp :/a/nwdw twh.ep gOdnpli.nneet
revoCBy Bruce BairnsfatherBullets and BilletsFragments from FranceA Few Fragments from His LifeFFRRAOGM MFERNATNSCEYBBCAAIPRTNASINF ABTRHUECREAUTHOR OF "BULLETS AND BILLETS"flower
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONSTNhEe WK nYicOkReKr bAocNkDe rL POrNesDsON7191Transcriber's Note: Where text is included in acartoon and a closer look would be aid in readability,links are provided to larger images. These links areindicated by underlines on the caption title providingyour browser supports such linking.FOREWORDBy the Editor of "The Bystander."WHEN Tommy went out to the great war, he wentsmiling, and singing the latest ditty of the halls. Theenemy scowled. War, said his professors of kultur andhis hymnsters of hate, could never be waged in theTipperary spirit, and the nation that sent to the frontsoldiers who sang and laughed must be the verydecadent England they had all along denounced asunworthy of world-power.I fear the enemy will be even more infuriated when heturns over the pages of this book. In it the spirit of theBritish citizen soldier, who, hating war as he hated hell,flocked to the colours to have his whack at theapostles of blood and iron, is translated to cold andpermanent print. Here is the great war reduced to grimand gruesome absurdity. It is not fun poked by a mere
looker-on, it is the fun felt in the war by one who hasbeen through it.BCARPUTCAEI NB ABIRRUNCSEF ABTAHIRENR.SFATHER. CAPTAINCaptain Bruce Bairnsfather has stayed at that "farm"which is portrayed in the double page of the book; hehas endured that shell-swept "'ole" that is depicted onthe cover; he has watched the disappearance of that"blinkin' parapet" shown on one page; has had his haircut under fire as shown on another. And having beenthrough it all, he has just put down what he has seenand heard and felt and smelt and—laughed at.Captain Bairnsfather went to the front in no mood of a"chiel takin' notes." It was the notes that took him.Before the war, some time a regular soldier, sometime an engineer, he had little other idea than tosketch for mischief, on walls and shirt cuffs, andtablecloths. Without the war he might never have putpencil to paper for publication. But the war insisted.It is not for his mere editor to forecast his vogue inposterity. Naturally I hope it will be a lasting one, but Iam prejudiced. Let me, however, quote a letter whichreached Captain Bairnsfather from somewhere inFrance:"Twenty years after peace has been declared therewill be no more potent stimulus to the recollections ofan old soldier than your admirable sketches of trenchlife. May I, with all deference, congratulate you onyour humour, your fidelity, your something-else noteasily defined—I mean your power of expressing in
belaascilky  adnedfi nwehdite Ia  mcoenadni tyioonu ro fp omwinerd .o"f expressing inI hope that this forecast is a true one. If this sketchbook is worthy to outlast the days of the war, and tobe kept for remembrance on the shelves of those whohave lived through it, it will have done its bit. For will itnot be a standing reminder of the ingloriousness ofwar, its preposterous absurdity, and of its futility as ameans of settling the affairs of nations?CAPTAIN BRUCE BAIRNSFATHER CAPTAIN BRUCEBAIRNSFATHERThis picture was taken at the Front, less than aqBuaiarrntsefr atofh ear  mhialse  fcroomme t "hset rGaiegrhmt aofnf  ttrheen cmhueds,."  Caanpdt iasinbwoeoatrsi.n gI ma mfuerd icaotaetl,y  ab eBhailnadc lhaivma  ihs eal mheotl,e  amnda dgeu bmy a"Jack Johnson" shell.When the ardent Jingo of the day after to-morrowrattles the sabre, let there be somewhere handy acopy of "Fragments from France" that can be openedin front of him, at any page, just to remind him of whatwar is really like as it is fought in "civilised" times.Captain Bairnsfather has become a household word—or perhaps one should say a trench-hold word. Who isever the worse for a laugh? Certainly not the soldier intrench or dug-out or shell-swept billet. Rather may itbe said that the Bairnsfather laughter has acted inthousands of cases as an antidote to the bane ofdepression. It is the good fortune of the British Armyto possess such an antidote, and the ill-fortune of theother belligerents that they do not possess its
equivalent.A Scots officer, writing in the Edinburgh EveningNews, hits the true sentiment towards Bairnsfather ofthe Army in France when he writes:"To us out here the 'Fragments' are the veryquintessence of life. We sit moping over a smokycharcoal fire in a dug-out. Suddenly someone, morewide-awake than others remembers the 'Fragments.'Out it comes, and we laugh uproariously over eachpicture. For are these not the very things we arewitnessing every day, incidents full of tragic humour?The fed-up spirit you see on the faces ofBairnsfather's pictures is a sham—a mask beneathwhich there lies something that is essentially British."Man smokingIn a communication received by Captain Bairnsfatheran eminent Member of Parliament writes: "You arerising to be a factor in the situation, just as Gillray wasa factor in the Napoleonic wars." The difference is,however, that instead of turning his satire exclusivelyupon the enemy, as did Gillray, Captain Bairnsfatherturns his—good-humouredly always—on his fellow-warriors. This habit of ours of making fun of ourselveshas come by now to be fairly well understood by eventhe most sensitive and serious-minded of ourcontinental friends and neighbours. It hardly needsnowadays to be pointed out that it is a fixed conditionof the national life that wherever Britons are workingtogether in any common object, whether in school,college, profession, or even warfare, they must never
appear to be regarding their occupation too seriously.Those who know us—and who, nowadays, has theexcuse for not knowing us, seeing how very much wehave been discussed?—understand that our frivolity isapparent and not real. Because we have the gift oflaughter, we are no less appreciative of grim realitiesthan are our scowling enemies, and nobody knowsthat better in these days than those scowling enemiesthemselves.Their hymns of hate and prayers for punishment havebeen impotent expressions of exasperation at ourcoolness, deliberation, and inflexible determination—qualities they had deluded themselves before the warinto believing would prove all a sham before the firstblast of frightfulness. They told themselves that, a waronce actually begun, the imperturbable pipe-smokingJohn Bull would be transformed into a coweringcraven. More complete confusion of this false belief isnowhere to be found than in these "Fragments." Itranks as a colossal German defeat that successivebloodthirsty assaults upon us by land, sea, and airshould produce a Bairnsfather, depicting the"contemptible little Army," swollen out of allrecognition, settling humorously down to war asthough it were the normal business of life."Fed up"? Yes, that is the word by which to describe, ifyou like, the prevalent Bairnsfather expression ofcountenance. But the kind of weariness he depicts isthe reverse of the kind that implies "give up." Aucontraire, mes amis! The "fed-up" Bairnsfather man isa fixture. "J'y suis," he might exclaim, if he spokeFrench, "et il m'embête que j'y suis. Je voudrais que je
n'y sois pas. Mais j'y suis, et, mes bons camarades,par tous les dieux, j'y reste!"If the enemy should read in the words "fed up" a signthat our tenacity is giving out, he reads it wrong; grimwill be the disillusionment of any hopes he may buildupon his misreading, and even grimmer the anger ofthose whom he may have deluded.These verdammte Engländer are never what theyseem, but are always something unpleasantlydifferent. We are the Great Enigma of the war, and inour mystery lies our greatest strength. Let us becareful not to lose it. Those who would have ussimplify ourselves upon the continental model, andpresent to the world a picture of sombre seriousness,are asking us to change our national character.Cromwell asked the painter to paint him, "warts andall." Bairnsfather sketches us—smiles and all. Andwho would take the smiles off the "dials" of the figuresyou will see on the pages that follow?Where to Live—[ADVT.] Where to Live—[ADVT.]IN ONE OF THE CHOICEST LOCALITIES OFNORTHERN FRANCE.TO BE LET (three minutes from German trenches),this attractive andWELL-BUILT DUG-OUT,containing one reception-kitchen-bedroom and UP-TO-DATE FUNK HOLE (4ft. by 6ft.), all moderninconveniences, including gas and water. Thisdesirable Residence stands one foot above waterlevel, commanding an excellent view of the enemytrenches.
EXCELLENT SHOOTING (SNIPE AND DUCK).—Particulars of the late Tenant, Room 6, BaseHospital, Bonlog c."Where did that one go to?" "Where did that one goot"?My Dug-Out: A lay of the trenches. My Dug-Out: A layof the trenches.That Evening Star-shell. That Evening Star-shell."FOalhls,  sotna rm oyf  sepvieri,t 'sw throosueb lteedn dderre abema."mWolfram's Aria in "Tannhäuser.""They've evidently seen me." "They've evidently seen".emSituation Shortly Vacant. Situation Shortly Vacant.Isnh oarntl yo lod-cfcausr hfioorn ea dy hoouunsg e mina nF,r awnitche  gaono do ppernoisnpge cwtilsl ofgetting a rise.The Tactless Teuton. The Tactless Teuton.pAr ivmaetem ibne tr hoef  tOhrep hGarnasv' eBdiagttgaeliros'n , Cporripors  tjoo kai nfgr ownittahl aattack."yoWue llk, nifo wyos uo fk na obwest toefr  'ao lbee, ttgeor  t'oo liet., "go to it." "Well, ifA Proposal in Flanders. A Proposal in Flanders.The point of Jean's pitchfork awakens a sense of dutyin a mine that shirked.
No Possible Doubt Whatever. No Possible DoubtWhatever.Sentry: "'Alt! Who goes there?"He of the Bundle: "You shut yer —— mouth, or I'll—— come and knock yer —— head off!"Sentry: "Pass, friend!""Gott strafe this barbed wire." "Gott strafe this barbedwire."So Obvious. So Obvious.The Young and Talkative One: "Who made that 'ole?"The Fed-up One: "Mice."The Fatalist. The Fatalist.I'm sure they'll 'ear this damn thing squeakin'."A Maxim Maxim. A Maxim Maxim."Fire should be withheld till a favourable targetpresents itself."Our Adaptable Armies. Our Adaptable Armies.aPrpipvraetcei aJbolny erse d(luactee s" Zthoeg itqouffa,"n ttithye  ocf ohmateed yp ewri ryea radrt iosft)frontage."AI .sDe. eN tihnee teWeanr  FBifatbyi. eAs'. DB. atNtianlieotne eisn  aF ifctoy.ming out."Frustrated Ingenuity. Frustrated Ingenuity.Owing to dawn breaking sooner than he anticipated,that inventive fellow, Private Jones, has a trying timewith his latest creation, "The Little Plugstreet," thesniper's friend.
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